Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Housing For Whom?

Kent Green Party submission on Government's Housing Green Paper

Kent Green Party has made a submission to the Government's consultation on Housing (1). The Government has made bold claims about its intentions to make housing more affordable and more sustainable. However, its enthusiasm for expanding housing in the driest parts of the country, including Kent, is coupled with an unwillingness to push developers on standards.

Steve Dawe comments: "The Government could insist that all housing be built with adequate insulation, water conservation, solar water heating and solar panels as standard features. Instead, it plans to wait until 2016 to build housing of reasonable quality. Since local government in Kent is radically under-funded despite the scale of new development occurring here, there are too few building inspectors and other planning specialists to ensure existing building standards are kept to. In fact, the Government's own Building Research Establishment says 4 out of every 10 new homes do not meet existing building standards."

"But Kent Green Party is more concerned about the quality of the existing 21 million homes in the UK. If improved by better energy and water conservation and more use of loftspaces and the creation of basements, then more people can be housed in better conditions. But the Government's Housing Green Paper places far too much emphasis on new homes rather than existing ones, as if this was the only way to meet actual housing demand. Kent Green Party believes local councils should only have to meet local demand for housing, using only brownfield sites and the existing built environment to do so."

1. Housing Green Paper: Homes for the Future: more affordable, more sustainable, 2007. The Kent Green Party submission will be available at www.kentgreenparty.org under Resources shortly. Copies may be requested from greenparty@gn.apc.org

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